The EU has released a draft that would see both nuclear and gas labeled as a green investment under tax policy. As you might expect, only backlash ensued by the proposal from not only activists but members of the EU.
While many have begun giving nuclear energy a second chance as it becomes apparent that it can help reduce emissions, it’s a sensitive matter. Germany is taking every harsh stance and eliminating all nuclear energy within its borders.
On the flip side, France gets 70% of its energy from nuclear, which is why it has a small carbon footprint in regards to the energy sector.
However, one thing everyone agrees with, gas is not “green.”
Why Label Gas A Green?
The EU plans to invest billions into the green taxonomy to achieve its net-zero emission goals by 2050. By classifying both natural gas and nuclear as green, they become eligible for investment.
Many feel that gas in particular does not belong in such a classification as it clearly emits carbon. Case closed, right?
The only argument that could be made is that by making gas a more attractive investment, it will be the last nail in the coffin for coal, a much larger emitter. While this is true and can help lower emissions, it won’t achieve net-zero.
What About Nuclear?
Nuclear, on the other hand, is very divisive. In reality, it’s a reliable source of energy that does not emit carbon. However, many fear the consequences that could happen if something were to go wrong.
Essentially, people who are against it are focused on the worst-case scenario. And to be fair, they are not wrong.
However, the odds of the world curbing emissions without nuclear in a timely manner are very low. And creating more nuclear power plants can help lower emissions. France, a member of the EU, is a prime example of that.
It Tarnishes the Meaning Behind Green
Regardless, another concern is that it ultimately changes the meaning behind the term, “green,” and that’s something that people cannot stand.
Green is typically referred to as technology that won’t have any negative environmental impact. In no uncertain terms, gas will have a negative impact even if it eliminates coal. And nuclear sites become unlivable for a long time even if they are shut down properly.
On top of that, constructing the large facilities takes a lot of resources. Ultimately, that’s land usage that could be used for something else.
Neither technology should be considered green, even if there are positive attributes.
And this is exactly why the EU has gotten such strong backlash from just about everyone. The good news is that this is just a proposal and not a law.
This needs to be approved by the majority of member nations in the EU. If it is, it will go into effect by 2023. If not, then nothing will happen. Based on the initial response, it seems unlikely members would agree to it in the current state.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.